Cape Town professor David Lurie blatantly refuses to defend himself for an affair with a colored student whom he gave a passing grade for an exam she didn't even attend. Dismissed, he moves to his daughter Lucy's farm, which she runs under most disadvantaged terms, favoring the black locals. Yet rowdies, unprovoked, violently rob and abuse them both. Lucy refuses to fight back, unlike David, who is surprised by his own altruistic potential.Written by
Disgrace is based on J.M. Coetzee's prize winning novel. Its central character is a an English professor in South Africa and his relationship with a number of women including one of his students, his daughter and a lover. It's about race, sex, revenge, redemption, moral ambiguities, what is right and what is wrong; above all it's about the complex nation that is South Africa.
Having read the novel, I can say that the film is very faithful to the book. Perhaps if the movie can be faulted it is because the film adaptation is too faithful. We can clearly hear the author's voice in the movie but not the director's. It just does not resonate as it should have done considering the source material. This by no means to say Disgrace is not a good film; in fact it is a very good film, finely acted (especially by Malkovich) and well directed. But it is not a great film and one feels that if Steve Jacobs, the director had perhaps not remained so faithful to the novel, the film would have risen from the level of a very competent and faithful adaptation to a great and perhaps even a classic film.
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